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Social Emotional Skills – Importance at Workplace
These days a phrase called ‘social emotional learning’ is gaining high popularity in the professional world. As per reports from different studies, most of the companies have started paying detailed attention towards skills like collaboration, problem-solving, and emotional regulation during the recruitment process. In fact, there has been a noticeable rise in the research pace that aims at designing and measuring social emotional skills.
But, while we talk about these social emotional skills, it is important to be well acquainted with what are social emotional skills and their key aspects. As is the universal fact, a healthy development of emotional, mental, and behavioural aspect is extremely important for any individual to lead a meaningful, engaged and productive life.
Social and emotional development is generally defined as a way of learning skills that help any individual to understand and manage their actions, relating with others, and making responsible choices.
As stated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional, Learning (CASEL), social emotional learning refers to “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
What are these Social Emotional Skills?
Learning social emotional skills is a lifelong process. It is an integral part of effective communication and collaboration. SEL includes a set of varied yet specific skills, habits, and mindsets. There are five vital pillars of social emotional learning. These include:
- Self Awareness
Being well acquainted with social emotional skills helps you realise your strengths and weaknesses. You also get to know how your behaviour from these strengths and weaknesses influences other individuals. Self awareness is highlighted with factors like:
- Having an accurate self-perception
- Identifying emotions
- Recognizing strengths
- Self Management
Self-management refers to the ability to manage your thoughts, behaviors and most importantly your emotions easily and effectively in varied situations and achieve your aspirations and goals with equal ease. This involves the capacity to manage stress, delay gratifications, and feel the motivation to achieve your personal and collective goals. The main features that highlight self-management include:
- Stress management
- Impulse control
- Organizational skills
- Social Awareness
Social awareness refers to the ability to understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, irrespective of the diversity in their cultures, backgrounds, and contexts. This is inclusive of your capabilities of being compassionate to others; perceive varied historical and social norms of behaving in different settings. Key features to highlight social awareness include:
- Respect for others
- Appreciating diversity
- Relationship Skills
Relationship skills refer to the skill that enables you to establish as well as maintain healthy and supportive relationships. In fact, these skills help you to effectively take the helm of settings with different groups and individuals. This involves your capabilities to listen actively, communicate in a clearer manner, co-operate, and work in collaboration towards problem-solving. The main features that highlight relationship skills include:
- Social engagement
- Relationship building
- Responsible Decision Making
This is the final pillar of social emotional skills. Responsible decision-making skills enable you to make caring and constructive choices with regard to social interactions and personal behaviors amid different situations and varied circumstances. This takes account of your capabilities to take ethical standards into consideration, thus enabling you to evaluate the pros and cons of different actions for social, personal, and communal well-being. Basic features that highlight responsible decision making include:
- Analyzing situations
- Identifying problems
- Solving problems
- Ethical responsibility
Why are Social Emotional Skills Important at Workplace?
As the name indicates, social emotional skills help people to manage their emotions more effectively. SEL emphasizes understanding and caring about others while simultaneously being capable of understanding and controlling self emotions thus reaching good decisions. In addition, these skills also highlight responsible behavior with good intentions to maintain positive relationships and avoid negative behaviors.
As per research compiled by CASEL, it is evident that “SEL (social emotional learning) reduces instances of depression while simultaneously increasing the individuals’ ability to manage stress at the workplace.”
While other studies from different sources have reported improvement in varied areas, a report from the World Bank Group, “almost 80% of employers cite social emotional skills as being the most important qualities for determining the chances of success. This way, SEL improves long-term career prospects.”
Some additional benefits of learning social emotional skills to improve your performance and position at the workplace include:
- A better interpretation of your feelings and thoughts
Having been trained with strong social emotional skills, you are in a better position to recognize your feelings and thoughts. This makes it easier for you to surmount difficult emotions. For example, if you’ve been feeling highly stressed over your course of the workweek, these social emotional skills help you to recognize the source of your anxiety or stressors and find a solution to it.
- A better understanding of others’ emotions
With social emotional skills being your knight in shining armor, you are able to understand your co-workers’ emotions in a better way thus being capable to react more appropriately to their emotions and feelings. Moreover, with more practice, you tend to become more aware of reacting to situations that are emotionally challenging stipulations.
For instance, if a colleague informs you about any unfortunate or serious news, your social emotional skills help you realize the situation and support your co-worker thus leading to a healthy relationship with co-workers.
- Demonstrating your emotions in a better and healthier way
Having proficient social economic skills enables you to cope-up more easily with high stress situations thus helping you maintain a professional demeanor. For instance, during a coaching conversation, social emotional skills can help you determine the expression of correct emotions and make you receive appropriate feedback on your job performance.
However, social emotional skills never come easily, especially in high stress situations when it becomes difficult to maintain self-awareness and express empathy. Thus, it is extremely important that these skills are practiced daily. The more you practice, the more natural they feel thus increasing the likelihood of them being used in high-stress situations.